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Money Shot #1

It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d everyone get? What’d you like? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

WNWO NBC – Grant allows Toledo Lucas County Public Library to start comic book clubs at local schools – This is great to see.

Newsarama – Tokyopop Branches Out Into Digital-First with New Titles by Shadow and Tim Smith 3 – That’s a very interesting move.

Global News – No ‘to be continued’ for C4 comic convention – That’s a long running convention.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Witchcraft makes a mess of magic and feelings – Free comics!

Newsarama – DC Hires Editor Ben Meares – Some staffing news.


AIPT! – Adventures of Spider-Man: Spectacular Foes
Marvel Rising: Heroes of the Round Table
The Beat –
Money Shot #1
The Beat –

SDCC 2019: Tokyopop Announces New Manga Including Horror and Three Boys’ Love Titles

Tokyopop unveiled the launch of a new horror manga series, as well as three new, single-volume boys’ love titles to be released in early 2020 at their San Diego Comic-Con 2019 panel. 

From Kaili Sorano, the creator of supernatural manga series Monochrome Factor, comes another action-packed occult story entitled Parham Itan: Tales From Beyond. It follows the mysterious adventures of two high schoolers, Yamagishi and Sendo, who accidentally find themselves entangled in occult conspiracies and a fantastical array of paranormal phenomenon plaguing their school, including a plant-faced monster that seems to be assimilating innocent victims around the area. With the help of an enigmatic paranormal investigator named Akisato, the two must set aside their many differences and work together to stop these preternatural perils from the world “beyond.” 

According to the artist, this new manga series is heavily inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu, as well as the tabletop role-playing game of the same title. Horror manga fans can look forward to the Lovecraftian monsters and mysteries of Parham Itan: Tales From Beyond in February 2020. 

Also launching in early 2020 are three more boys’ love titles, each in single-volume format. 

The first of the three, titled Dirty Darling, is authored and illustrated by boys love artist Gorou Kanbe. In it, a young man takes in and takes care of an unfortunate vagrant, helping him clean up and get back on his feet. A special relationship begins to blossom between the two unlikely companions in this bittersweet story of loss and love.

Also scheduled for early 2020 are Dekoboko Sugar Days by Atsuko Yusen and RePlay by Saki Tsukahara, both of which feature a romance between two young men who started out as childhood friends.

Dekoboko Sugar Days is a fun, lighthearted romance between main characters Yuujirou Matsukaze and Rui Hanamine, who have been close since the two of them were young. At that time, Yuujirou was the one who stood up for and took care of his adorable, soft-hearted friend. As it turns out, however, Yuujirou’s childhood dreams end up growing a little too big to handle — or, rather, too tall! At over six feet in height, the cheerful and happy-go-lucky Rui towers over his would-be protector… and still has no idea Yuujirou’s had a crush on him since they were kids! 

RePlay also features a couple who started out as close friends, but with a twist for sports-manga fans. Main characters Yuuta and Ritsu have been part of the same baseball club for years, but after being defeated in a local tournament over the summer, the two decide to quit the club and begin studying for the same university. Still, Yuuta finds himself unable to give up his lingering attachment to baseball. The one person who can truly understand him is Ritsu. 

Details on these upcoming 2020 Tokyopop manga releases are below.

Title: Parham Itan: Tales From Beyond, Vol. 1
Story/Art: Kaili Sorano
ISBN: 978-1-4278-6226-6
Rating: 13+
SRP: $12.99
Trim: 5″x7.5″
Pages: 176
Cover: Softcover
Release month: February 2020

Parham Itan: Tales From Beyond, Vol. 1

Title: Dirty Darling
Story/Art: Gorou Kanbe
ISBN: 978-1-4278-6225-9
Rating: 16+
SRP: $12.99
Trim: 5″x7.5″
Pages: 176
Cover: Softcover
Release month: January 2020

Dirty Darling

Title: Dekoboko Sugar Days
Story/Art: Atsuko Yusen
ISBN: 978-1-4278-6228-0
Rating: 16+
SRP: $12.99
Trim: 5″x7.5″
Pages: 256
Cover: Softcover
Release month: February 2020

Dekoboko Sugar Days

Title: RePlay
Story/Art: Saki Tsukahara
ISBN: 978-1-4278-6227-3
Rating: 18+
SRP: $12.99
Trim: 5″x7.5″
Pages: 192
Cover: Softcover
Release month: February 2020


SDCC 2019: Tokyopop’s Exclusives and Panels

Tokyopop has revealed their exclusive merchandise available for purchase to collectors at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. Centered around their full-color manga-style comic, The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey, the limited edition items will delight fans of Tim Burton and Disney’s stop motion classic.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey was Introduced for Diamond Comics’ 2018 Free Comic Book Day with a prequel comic counted as issue #0 in the 20 issue comic series. Selling over 120,000 copies of the Free Comic Book Day debut to comic book stores across North America, the original story introduces new characters alongside fan favorites, and is written and created in house by the Tokyopop team.

When Jack Skellington’s faithful pet Zero gets lost in the woods, he finds himself accidentally sucked into the portal to Christmas Town. Alone and confused by this strange new world, he must get the help of the residents of Christmas Town to find his way back. And with their own holiday plans on hold, everyone in Halloween Town rallies behind Jack to mount a search for the faithful ghost pup. Will they be reunited in time to save both holidays?

Set in the wonderful world of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS as created by Tim Burton, explore the magical realms of Halloween Town and Christmas Town through the eyes of Zero as he tries to find his way home in an unfamiliar world.

All exclusives are available in limited quantities at booth #4037 on the exhibition floor.

Zero’s Journey issue #0 (2019 convention exclusive variant)


Originally released for Free Comic Book Day 2018, this 2019 convention exclusive variant of The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey #0 features brand new cover art by Yishan Li.

Price: $20

Trick or Treat (2019 SDCC exclusive print)


This San Diego Comic-Con 2019 exclusive print features Kiyoshi Arai’s cover art from The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey issue #8.

12″x18″ with metallic ink highlights.

Price: $15

Poor Zero (2019 SDCC exclusive print)


This San Diego Comic-Con 2019 exclusive print features Kiyoshi Arai’s cover art from The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey issue #10.

12″x18″ with metallic ink highlights.

Price: $15

Here Comes Sandy Claws (2019 SDCC exclusive print)


This San Diego Comic-Con 2019 exclusive print features Kiyoshi Arai’s cover art from The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey issue #12.

12″x18″ with metallic ink highlights.

Price: $15

Halloween Heartache (2019 SDCC exclusive print)


This San Diego Comic-Con 2019 exclusive print features Kiyoshi Arai’s cover art from The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey issue #3.

12″x18″ with metallic ink highlights.

Price: $15

Tokyopop will also be selling non-exclusive prints from some of their most popular manga, a selection of titles from their International Women of Manga, Disney Manga, TOKYOPOP Classics and brand new lines, and will offer a button making station where attendees can select a button from a number of existing licenses, or design their own for purchase.

Several members of the team will be appearing in panels at the show, featuring special creative guests and announcements of new licenses.

Diversity in Manga, Thu 7/18 (12 – 1pm), Room 29AB

Many of us love manga, but sometimes we don’t see ourselves represented as often as we’d like – or even at all. Join TOKYOPOP for a discussion about the importance of increasing diversity in manga titles, and for a preview of upcoming International Women of Manga releases, plus giveaways!

TOKYOPOP Presents: Manga for Everyone, Sat 7/20 (6 – 7pm), Room: 28DE

Manga is for everyone, and TOKYOPOP’s goal is to bring the magic of manga to all comic book fans, whether they’re manga veterans or new to the world of Japanese style comics. This panel will be an opportunity to show curious fans what’s coming up this year and beyond from TOKYOPOP, how we’re expanding our Disney Manga licenses for kids, bringing diversity into the world of manga from our International Women of Manga line, and both resurrecting classic titles for collector editions and bringing new manga over from Japan.

The Making of Zero’s Journey, Sun 7/21 (4 – 5pm), Room: 29AB

Join the team behind The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey graphic novel series to learn about the comic’s creative process! We’ll be talking about the film that started it all, how it inspired this new story and what it’s like working with such an influential property. And stick around after the Q&A for a giveaway!

Tokyopop Heads to Hi De Ho Comics for Free Comic Book Day

This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day and Tokyopop will be at Hi De Ho Comics giving out free copies of Dizzy’s New Fortune, a full color, manga-style graphic novel telling a brand-new story in the world of Disney Descendants!

The original Villain Kids have worked hard to prove they deserve to stay in Auradon, and now it’s time some of their friends from the Isle of the Lost get that chance too! When Dizzy receives a special invitation from King Ben to join the other VKs at Auradon Prep, at first she’s thrilled! But doubt soon creeps in, and she begins to question whether she can truly fit in outside the scrappy world of the Isle.

Where: Hi De Ho Comics, 412 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401
When: May 4th, 10am – 5pm
What: More details here!

Can’t make it? Check if your local store is hosting its own Free Comic Book Daycelebration by using the Comic Shop Locator service!

Nana Yaa’s Goldfisch Manga Being Developed as Anime!

Tokyopop has announced their adaptation of Nana Yaa‘s Goldfisch manga into an animated series.

With the script being written by Simon Thummet, the project will be produced by Tokyopop together with European animation studio Studio Seufz in Stuttgart, Germany. Funding is provided by the Media and Film Funding of Baden-Wuerttemberg (MFG Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg), whose jurors in their last award session of the year approved around 3.7 million EUR for a total of 23 projects in the fields of script development, preproduction and production, with 15,200 EUR awarded to Goldfisch for the initial phase.

One of the first titles in Tokyopop’s International Women of Manga initiative, two volumes of Goldfisch are already available in English and in Nana Yaa’s native German from Tokyopop, and the first volume has been released in French (asGoldfish) by nobi nobi!. A new take on the legend of King Midas, the shonen action adventure title is inspired by the tales Yaa heard from her grandmother when she was growing up.

Say hi to Morrey Gibbs! A fisher-boy in a flooded world overrun with dangerous mutated animals known as “anomals”, he’s got his own problems to worry about. Namely, how everything he touches turns to gold! Sure it sounds great, but gold underpants aren’t exactly stylish — or comfortable!

Together with his otter buddy and new inventor friend Shelly, Morrey’s on a quest to rid himself of his blessing-turned-curse and undo the tragedy it caused. That is of course, if they can dodge the treasure-hungry bounty hunters…

Nana Yaa is now among the most productive artists in the German manga scene and has already published numerous amateur manga and short stories, including the Boys Love webcomic, CRUSHED!!. In addition to her contributions to anthologies by the independent publisher Schwarzer Turm, her first full-length work, Patina was published by Droemer Knaur in 2016. Her slice-of-life drama MCS was awarded Doujinshi of the Year in 2016.

SDCC 2018: Tokypop Announces New Japanese Licenses

Tokyopop has announced the release of two new titles to begin serialization in early 2019. Both titles were announced as a part of their Manga for Everyone! panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2018 on July 22nd 2018.

Long-time fans and new readers alike are invited to experience Aria: The Masterpiece, an all-new, collectible edition of the acclaimed manga by Kozue Amano. Following the amazingly successful Kickstarter campaign launched last year by Nozomi Entertainment — during which enthusiastic backers raised nearly $600,000 toward dubbing the anime adaptation of the Aria manga — Tokyopop is excited to announce this beautiful addition to every Aria fan’s collection. Each 2-in-1 volume will include select full-color pages and lavish gold-foil cover embellishment. Volume 1 of this collectible set comprises the first two books of the prequel series Aqua, and is scheduled for release in February 2019.

On the planet Aqua, a world once known as Mars, Akari Mizunashi has just made her home in the town of Neo-Venezia, a futuristic imitation of the ancient city of Venice. In pursuit of her dream to become an Undine — a gondolier who leads high-end tours around the city — Akari joins as a trainee with the Aria Company, one of the three most prestigious water-guide companies in Neo-Venezia.

Also debuting in January 2019 are the first of three volumes of Yuri Bear Storm, featuring an all-new plot adapted from the popular 2015 anime by prominent creator and director Kunihiko Ikuhara, whose signature achievements include the anime classic Revolutionary Girl Utena, as well as his work directing Sailor Moon. The manga tells an original story illustrated by Akiko Morishima, who also developed the anime character designs, and is best known for her nuanced and realistic portrayal of romances between women.

Every night, 16-year-old Kureha Tsubaki has strange dreams involving lilies, storms, and… being rescued by her classmate Ginko as an alien bear princess?!

At school, Kureha’s unassuming personality and looks render her practically invisible. Sometimes, it feels like no one notices her at all, until cute and outgoing transfer student Ginko asks Kureha to be her friend. With Ginko’s encouragement and protection, Kureha starts to come out of her shell and realizes that, whether or not her new classmate really is a bear, her feelings toward Ginko might be stronger than friendship after all.

Tokyopop Engages IDW International as Global Sales Agent

IDW Publishing and Tokyopop have announced that IDW’s international arm will be managing the Tokyopop foreign rights catalogue for non-English language markets. IDW International oversees all international licensing of the diverse IDW catalogue and its partners, which continues to grow year after year. Tokyopop’s foreign rights catalogue consists of over 100 manga and graphic novel IPs featuring a diverse range of characters and stories from talented creators worldwide.

Founded in 1997 by media entrepreneur Stu Levy, Tokyopop, part of POP Media Holdings, established the market for manga in North America, introducing the term to the English language in the process. Over its history, Tokyopop has published thousands of books, distributed anime and Asian films on home video and television, licensed merchandise to consumer goods companies, created graphic novels of major brands, and led the way digitally in social media, e-commerce, and user-generated content.

As a welcome addition to the rapidly growing division representing a wide range of publishers and brands, Tokyopop joins Oni Press and Archie Comics in working alongside IDW International.

Tokyopop Launches Konohana Kitan, Futaribeya, and Hanger in 2018

Tokyopop has announced its initial plans for moving back into Japanese manga English-language licenses with three new series.

Konohana Kitan is the first title in the publisher’s newest licenses, a slice of life fantasy story adapted into a hit anime currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation. Created by Sakuya Amano, Konohana Kitan is the heartwarming story of a new apprentice named Yuzu, and the other fox girls who work at a hot spring hotel called Konohatei. The staff at Konohatei live by one belief: no matter who one may truly be, no matter what, anyone who is a guest is a god. Of course, that includes you. Let the hospitality of Yuzu and the Konohatei heal your tired soul.

Also debuting is Futaribeya, a slice of life yonkoma (four-panel vertical comic strip) manga series by Yukiko. About to start her first year of high school, Sakurako Kawawa settles into her new lodgings. But when she meets her new roommate — the beautiful Kasumi Yamabuki — everything changes! From day one the responsible, level-headed Sakurako and lazy, easygoing Kasumi find themselves at odds with one another, but with their matching mugs and one bed to share, Sakurako and Kasumi’s friendship is just beginning!

The third new title is Hirotaka Kisaragi‘s Hanger, an action-packed Boys Love series set in a crime-ridden future version of Tokyo. In Neo-Tokyo, crime is rising rapidly in the wake of a new generation of super-drugs capable of enhancing the user’s physical and mental abilities. Hajime Tsukomo is a new recruit on a federal task force trained to go after these powered-up criminals. Now he must team up with Zeroichi, a so-called Hanger looking to reduce his own jail sentence in exchange for helping to take down these chemically-boosted bad guys.

​Print copies will retail for $12.99 while digitally each volume will be available for $9.99. Details on the upcoming 2018 Tokyopop manga releases are as follows:

  • Konohana Kitan with story and art by Sakuya Amano is rated Teen. Each volume is 176 pages with volume one being released 6/19/2018, volume two on 8/21/2018, volume three on 10/23/2018, and volume four on 12/4/2018.
  • Futaribeya with story and art by Yukiko is rated Teen with each volume coming in at 160 pages. The first volume will be released 9/4/2018 and second 11/16/2018.
  • Hanger with story and art by Hirotaka Kisaragi is rated Older Teen. Volume one is 192 pages and will be released 7/18/2018. Volume two is 208 pages and will be released on 9/4/2018.

Disney Stitch! Manga Selected for Educator Reading List

Following the success of its translation and release to the US graphic novel market, Tokypop has announced the selection of Disney Stitch! for the Little Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List

Inspired by the hit Disney movie Lilo & Stitch and adapted from the Stitch! anime spin-off, this three volume manga series follows the adventures of the titular alien experiment as he crash-lands on the Japanese island of Okinawa. Told in short, gag style stories, the books feature simple moral lessons and adorable comedy as a great introduction to manga for Stitch fans and younger readers alike. Volumes one and two are drawn by Yumi Tsukirino, with Stitch! Best Friends Forever! drawn by Miho Asada.

The title was chosen by Texas Library Association’s (TLA) Children’s Round Table (CRT) after review of children’s graphic novels throughout 2017. The Little Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List serves to encourage children to explore a variety of graphic novels and to read for pleasure, as well as aid children’s librarians, caregivers, and teachers in the purchasing and recommending of graphic novels for children in kindergarten through 5th grade.

Review: Princess Ai

2010-12-21-355013It seems musicians really enjoy making manga.  I mean, did you know that Courtney Love has a manga? Well, she does. It’s called Princess Ai and it’s a pretty good read. It was co-created by Courtney Love the lead singer of the band Hole, Ai Yazawa best known for probably Paradise Kiss or Nana, Misaho Kujiradou, and DJ Milky. The first manga was originally published in 2004 by Shinshokan and the English publishing company Tokyopop. It also had a sequel that only ran for two volumes in 2008 before going on hiatus to this day. It even spawned an entire album available on iTunes called Princess Ai loves Skye. Basically it got a bunch of merchandise to go along with it, because it was a pretty popular manga in the early 2000s.

The basic plot of the story is one of a girl named Ai who can’t remember anything but her name and that she loves music. She wakes up in Tokyo with only her heart-shaped box as a clue to who she is or where she is from. The she begins working at a club as well as slowly becoming a hit sensation on music charts. However, she has the feeling of needing to know who she is but also the feeling of being trapped by the very power and industry she starts being a part of. She also falls in love with a human musician named Kent, but people are after her from a place called Ai Land. She also begins growing wings from her back, which only adds to the stresses of her mystery life. It’s a bit convoluted in that there’s a lot of these mini subplots that never really get explained, which cause a lot of strife in really caring for some of the characters we meet.

Ai is the main character of the series and she is, with little spoilers, out of this world. She wears clothes highly inspired by Japanese Lolita and she rocks it. She is in control of herself and sees her body as a temple, refusing to strip for quick cash. Instead she promises a real show through the power of music! Which, in reality wouldn’t probably work, but manga logic so it works out fine for Ai just fine. Her power is within her music as she later finds out. However first she has to figure out who she is in the first place!

Kent is Ai’s love interest, half American/half Japanese, and one of the first people to encounter Ai after she is almost attacked by a random pickpocket. He is a musician who doesn’t really see himself going anywhere and is sort of downtrodden. He feels a connection to Ai, but can’t quite place it, perhaps its love? It’s implied that he himself is based off of Courtney Love’s late husband Kurt Cobain. It’s actually pretty obvious he’s based off Cobain, but we’ll keep a little mystery in our lives.

There’s also Takeshi, a talent agent who signs Ai to his agency. He’s a bit of a jerk but he means well. He may or may not have ties to the Yakuza through his boss. We don’t get a lot of backstory on him, rather we just see him interact with Ai and he’s mostly a sassy jerk.

There’s a whole lot of other characters, but let’s not worry about them too much, they either are spoilers or don’t really add a whole lot in terms of the actual story’s development.

Now the art style, as this is only a manga, is a bit limited in the fact that it’s a bit dated. Misaho Kujiradou has a very distinct long legged shoujo style of art. The anatomy of characters suffer because of this, but not completely. There is never a moment where it looks really strange, rather it’s accepted because there’s never horribly misshapen things. It’s actually a rather pretty art style in my personal opinion. It also has really interesting fashion and just general style of characters drawn out. I would say, if for the art, it’s a good place to look into. I mean, it’s nowhere near the mess that is xxxHolic in terms of anatomy.

Now in terms of music, because this manga got popular enough to have a full release album of all the music written from the story. But there is the letdown that it isn’t that great, I would know, I own the album. There was a lot of disappointment especially with people wanting Courtney Love to sing all the songs instead of who they got. While it isn’t great, it isn’t bad either, it’s just sort of subpar. I mean, definitely if you want to look it up there’s nothing stopping you. The singer Skye Madison worked well with what she was given in my opinion and it can actually be pretty enjoyable music. It also has pretty standard Hole-esque lyrics, which is a plus for manga considering. Still, it’s wort a listen if you’re really interested.

Ultimately though, I do have to take into account the sort of overly complicated story line that is a bit convoluted and the fact that it hasn’t been resolved. I think the issue is, comparatively to something like Daft Punk’s Interstellar 5555, it’s a bit rushed and doesn’t have the finely tuned type of storytelling that made the French film so captivating. It doesn’t share the same love of the art itself and doesn’t make you really care about the characters that Love tries to share, Daft Punk does that, but Princess Ai struggles. Princess Ai has the problem of trying to do so much in so little content and attempts to break down boundaries while maintaining within the confined realm of its art form.

Still, I have fond memories of reading Princess Ai and finding it genuinely enjoying it as a child. I also remember that a lot of other kids practiced art based off the manga. And it still holds up just as it did back then, as something enjoyable. It’s not the best, but it’s far better than what it could have been.

Princess Ai: 6/10

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